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Bridesmaids | Manolo for the Brides - Part 3
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LOVE/HATE: The ‘Ackbasswards’ Edition

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone outside of the realm of busybody biddies who has a problem with colored wedding dresses, but I’m loathe to believe that they’re overtaking white wedding dresses in terms of popularity. When, after all, was the last time you attended a wedding where the bride wore purple and the bridesmaids were in white (like in this pretty picture from Simply Bloom Photography)? But frankly, I LOVE the idea. Why not take the usual wedding color template and mix it up a little? It’s not like anyone at the wedding will have trouble identifying the bride!

Would you consider wearing a colored gown and dressing your bridesmaids in white?

The Story Behind The Socks

striped socks bridesmaid

Remember this awesome picture of a bridesmaid in stripey socks? Turns out, it’s not just a bridesmaid who’s a little quirky. Those are the namesake socks of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Socks – a group of people who send around that very pair of tootsie warmers and post photographic evidence on Flickr. I’m not sure if the group is still active, but if wouldn’t matter much to me if it was. Turns out the Sisterhood is closed to new membership except to those with a contact already in the group.

8 Holiday Gifts for the Bride (and Groom and Wedding Party)

1. Somewhere to stash all that stuff:

It’s such a cliche, but the fact is that brides and bridesmaids need somewhere to stash their gear – and what better excuse for a new bag than that? This classy initial handbag is great because it doesn’t look like the usual bridalbridalbridal tote bag. Too serious for you? I’m also a huge fan of super cute (and huge) totes with fun and crazy patterns and graphics.

2. A break from planning:

What’s better than wedding planning? Taking a well-deserved break from it! I always advise couples to go on a few dates (at least) where wedding planning is an off-limits topic, but sometimes that’s just not enough to relieve the stress. I recommend buying every bride-to-be you know at least one fun or engrossing book, a la Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Mythconceptions Throughout the Ages, Sh*t My Dad Says, or Northanger Abbey.

3. Easy packing:

I like luggage, but I’m not surprised when I meet people who don’t have real luggage. It’s expensive and a lot of brides- and grooms-to-be haven’t traveled much. But for the honeymoon? Come on, it pays to have nice suitcases. With locks. And wheels. If you really love the bride in your life, why not give her a set of Samsonite luggage in beautiful shiny black (at a whopping 55% off!) for her post-wedding getaway.

4. Some peace of mind on the big day:

brides survival kitgrooms survival kitbridesmaid survival kit

The wedding may be months away, but wedding day survival kits make great, easy stocking stuffers for the bride-to-be, the groom-to-be, and the bridesmaids. You can always DIY it with a cute makeup bag and supplies from the drug store, but Ms. a& Mrs. makes all-inclusive bride’s survival kits, survival kits for the groom and groomsmen, and bridesmaids’ survival kits.

5. Something blue:

blue digital camerablue stock pot

If you’re close to the bride, why not offer to get her that special ‘something blue’? Or, better yet, get her something blue that she doesn’t have to figure out how to integrate into the wedding day look she’s already coordinated. I sure wouldn’t have minded a holiday gift of a cute Keep Calm pendant, a blue digital camera from Samsung, or a Le Creuset stockpot!

6. A little bit of relaxation:

Yes, soap is soap, but isn’t it just a little fun, pre-wedding, to pamper yourself with shower and bath goodies with scents like wedding cake and bridal bouquet? For the bride-to-be in your life, there’s the Philosophy’s Bride gift set and for everyone else in the wedding, there’s the Bridal Party gift set.

7. Something to giggle at:

Forget the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook and give the happy couple The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook at $10 off the cover price. Why? First, it’s a lot more fun! And second, The Beard and I were recipe testers so we appear in the book! Really, the recipes are delish, and the book itself is pretty spicy.

8. Easy memories:

Finally, give the bride the gift of beautiful memories with a white wedding scrapbook, an easy wedding scrapbook page kit, and extra wedding scrapbook pages. Better yet, buy the books and the kits, wait for the wedding, and give the bride a belated holiday gift in the form of a scrapbook that’s already filled in!

Bridesmaids Getting Earthy

Tell me, ladies, what do you think of these earth tone bridesmaids dresses from Lilipad Creations?

If you want more info before making a call, here are the deets: These are all crafted to size from sculpted silk, and come in colors like champagne, mocha, rust, deep blue, and black. For brides who don’t like the sound of any of those colors, never fear! Lilipad Creations will custom dye silk for a batch of bridesmaids dresses. Oh, and I’m not entirely sure (it’s hard to tell in the pictures) but it seems like this dress also has an asymmetrical bust line.

As for what I think, I’m torn between really loving the shape of these bridesmaids dresses and not being entirely thrilled with the color selection. Except for the black option, of course – but I know not everyone is a fan of black bridesmaids dresses. And the price, $379, might be a lot for some bridesmaids to swallow. Or am I thinking too much like a frugal person and not enough like a bridesmaid?

The Uncanny Ability of (Some) Bridesmaids to Keep Chaos Quiet

One of the things that seldom comes up on lists of bridesmaids’ duties is “Keeping one’s mouth shut.” And yet I’d suggest that it wouldn’t exactly be far fetched to tack it on to the end of one of those lists. For as much as the bride-to-be worries incessantly that she will notice every little thing that goes wrong before, during, and after the wedding, a great bridesmaid will do the noticing for the bride and then gently steer the bride away from whatever is wrong so that someone else can handle it.

Or in other less common cases, that same great bridesmaid will find herself smack in the middle of what’s wrong and not go blabbing to the bride until at least after the ceremony.

Recently, that’s just what five Boston bridesmaids did when their wedding limo carjacked before the ceremony by a man fleeing the scene of a crime he’d allegedly just committed. According to a charter bus driver delivering guests to the wedding, the suspect started fighting with the driver, smashed the passenger side window with a hammer, the bridesmaids got out and ran, the driver bailed, and the suspect took off. To their credit, none of the bridesmaids left a bouquet behind, and they all stayed mum about the incident until after the bride had tied the knot.

This particular item on the list of bridesmaids’ duties won’t always be exciting, of course. In some cases, it’s tragic. At my own wedding, for example, I wasn’t told that the reason one of my aunts wasn’t in attendance was that she was terminally ill. And in other cases, the no-no topic is fairly mundane. Maybe the bridesmaids have found out that the ceremony seating arrangements are all wrong and send some of the groomsmen to rearrange everything before go time.

What the conscientious bridesmaid may have to keep to herself on the bride’s big day might be anything, but I can almost guarantee that the wedding will be all the better for her keeping her mouth shut. Yes, in a few cases the bride will wish that someone had spoken up and told her just what was going on. But a bridesmaid’s silence – sometime paired with a little sneaky initiative – can sometimes be all that it takes to keep the bride from realizing that anything is amiss.

Paper Flower Bridal Bouquets, Four Ways

Can I just say that in some games of wedding this-or-that, I have no opinion other than SQUEEILOVETHEMBOTH. So it is in the case of traditional bridal bouquets and alternative bridal bouquets. I just happened to have faux flower bouquets at my own wedding, but I would have been equally happy with, say, feather bouquets and
origami bridal bouquets.

And why not? Pretty much all the alternative bridal bouquets, from flowers made of ceramics to crystal and wire to seashells (for real), are just as heavy as flowers (sometimes heavier) and still somewhat delicate. Plus, they’re awesome. Right now I am salivating over all of the beautiful paper flower bouquets out there.

Aren’t they sweet? A paper bridal bouquet can look as much like or as little like the real thing as you want. I have a soft spot in my heart for the paper flowers made of old book pages from Danamazing’s Paper Flowers, maybe because I’m just a book addict. But the others are lovely, too: A spooky, crisp paper bouquet from My Bohemian Summer, a stylized origami bouquet from 3D Cranes, and a pretty, girly paper flower bouquet from Desicra.

P.S. – I keep reading lately about carnations making a comeback, so I just wanted to toot my own horn and say that I wrote about the new wedding carnations almost a year ago. Ha!

How to Wear Multiple Wedding Dresses Without Spending a Bundle

Every now and again, someone new stops by to tell us what they think about convertible bridesmaids dresses at the Twobirds post. Reactions range from “this dress is terrible” to “they’re going to work for all of us,” “the fabric looks cheap and the sewing is sub par” to “this dress will not wrinkle…perfect destination wedding dress”.

So when I see what is basically the same dress – or the same idea of a dress – in wedding gown form from Isadora Clothing, I have to share it with you.

According to Isadora Clothing, there are nine ways to wear a convertible wedding dress, from strapless and backless to semi-sleeved and plunging.

I wish that we could see the backs of all these convertible styles – because I think the backlessness of the convertible wedding dress is what gets to me the most. In theory, it’s such a fun, easy, awesome idea, but in reality, those of us who rely on rebar bras to keep everything from bouncing out of control or swinging to and fro should probably stay away from this sort of thing. Any chance any of you out there are wearing one of these, or something similar, on your big day?

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